Reconstruction of interchange officially completed
BY PETER JONES
With a ceremonial toss of plastic “hardhats,” one of the most long-awaited infrastructure projects in the metro area came to an official end last week—under budget and six months ahead of schedule.
“This has been a high priority for the City of Centennial for a very, very long time,” Mayor Cathy Noon told an assembly of press and public officials Dec. 14 in a parking lot overlooking the reconfigured interchange of I-25 and Arapahoe Road.
Although redesigning an updated intersection had been a gleam in the eye of government agencies for decades, the partnership that finally pulled the project together took little more than a year and a half, start to finish, to complete the $66 million project.
“It became a very high priority of mine,” said Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe, who was Greenwood Village’s mayor when she first took an active interest in the notoriously congested interchange. “We went many, many times to Washington, D.C. to try to get federal funding.”
As it happened, the project—strikingly not part of the $1.67 billion T-REX transportation overhaul—was completed as a partnership involving Arapahoe County, Greenwood Village, Centennial, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Southeast Public Improvement Metropolitan District in concert with the Federal Highway Administration.
Michael Lewis, CDOT’s executive director called it a “shining example” of regionalism.
The importance of the project, located in Greenwood Village, has been tied to a broad range of issues, including population growth, safety, quality of life and economic development.
More than 250,000 vehicles pass through the interchange on I-25 every day. Arapahoe Road sees about 70,000 vehicles.
Improvements that were part of the project included a reconstructed highway bridge, three through lanes in each direction on Arapahoe, a realigned frontage road, widening of Yosemite Street, two noise walls, and triple left-turn lanes from the I-25 off-ramps.
Landscaping of the area will be completed in the spring of next year.
With the Arapahoe interchange now finished, Greenwood Village Mayor Ron Rakowsky was quick to note that the highway’s often-congested intersection with Belleview would be next.
“It’s coming, folks. Put it on your calendar,” he said. “It’s going to happen and it needs to happen.”